Judge Awards Compensation to Man Injured in Sunbed Accident

Compensation has been awarded by the High Court in Dublin to a man for injury caused by an accident involving a sunbed in 2012.

Vincent Reid (72) of Lisburn, County Antrim was on vacation at the Hotel Savoy in Lake Garda, Italy when the incident occurred. As the man leaned back on the sunbed, his middle finger was caught in the arm mechanism of the chair, slicing the tip of the finger off. Vincent was immediately transported to a nearby hospital, where he received suitable care for the injury to his right hand. His finger remained in a splint for three months following his return to Ireland.

The package holiday had been organised through the travel company Topflight Ltd. Vincent made is claim for compensation against them through the Injuries Board of Ireland. The defendant denied liability for the accident, claiming that such an event was unforeseeable to them.

Last week, Vincent’s case for compensation was heard by Mr Justice Michael Hanna at the High Court in Dublin, as the Injuries Board was unable to assess the claim themselves.

As evidence, the judge heard how a similar injury had been sustained by another Irish guest to the resort merely days before Vincent’s own accident. It was also explained that the chair had not been ready for use by Vincent; the arm mechanism should have been locked into place before it was suitable to be leaned on.

The judge dismissed the Dublin travel company’s claim that the accident could not have been foreseen. He stated that the fact that the sunbed would collapse had the arm mechanism not been locked in place would have been known to the staff at the resort, and they had been negligent in assuring that it was fully fit for use.

He also heard that Vincent still suffered pain in the affected finger, and had limited mobility in it as a result, which prevented him from participating in his hobbies such as DIY or gardening.

Judge Hanna found Topflight Ltd guilty of breaching the Package Holidays and Travel Trade Act of 1995, rendering them liable to pay €40,796 for a sunbed accident on holiday.

Young Boy Compensated for Birth Injuries

An interim settlement of compensation has been approved by a High Court judge for a ten year-old boy who sustained severe injuries at his birth.

On the 30th September 2004, Luke Beirne was born at the Midlands Regional Hospital. However, Luke – who was delivered eleven days after his due date – was deprived of oxygen in utero due to alleged medical negligence at his birth. This caused him to sustain severe brain damage, and he now lives with cerebral palsy.

Margaret, Luke’s mother, has alleged that during her labour the midwives were “chatting in the corridor”, neglecting to monitor her condition. Additionally, she claimed that the theatre’s door was locked, causing a delay in Luke’s delivery. As well as suffering from cerebral palsy, Luke has asthma and will require surgery as he grows to correct the tightening of his muscles.

Acting on Luke’s behalf, Margaret sought legal counsel and proceeded to make a claim for birth negligence against the Health Service Executive and Dr David Mortell, he consultant obstetrician. In the claim she alleges that the latter did not discuss the risks of a vaginal birth for her second child, given that her first baby was delivered via a Caesarean Section three years before Luke.

Both accused parties denied that they were liable for Luke’s injuries, though they released statements that expressed their sorrow for Luke’s injuries and their consequences. However, they offered Margaret an interim settlement of compensation, made without an admission of liability.

Though dissatisfied with the outcome of the case, Margaret decided to follow the advice of her solicitor and accept the interim settlement. The case proceeded to the High Court, where Margaret informed Mr Justice Michael Morality that she trusted that the court would act in Luke’s best interest.

However, the judge was also told of the family’s concern that the offer of interim compensation – worth €800,000 – would not be enough to pay for Luke’s care. The defence told him that, should he decide the case needed a full trial, that they would testify that everything possible had been done to ensure Luke’s wellbeing.

Judge Moriarty commented that Margaret’s solicitors had engaged in “very hard bargaining” to secure the settlement offer, and that it was for Luke’s interest that he decided the case should not go to full trial. He proceeded to approve the compensation settlement and adjourned the case such that an assessment of damages can be conducted.

Out-of-Court Negotiations Settle Head-On Crash Claim as a Result of Union Involvement

An undisclosed amount of compensation has been settled upon for head-on crash injury as a result of out-of-court negotiations after involvement with the victim’s union.

Nick Brancher (37) was driving along the A38 after dropping his daughter off at school in April 2013. Suddenly, a vehicle that had been driving towards him swerved into the westbound carriageway, resulting in a head on collision between the two cars.

Nick was transported by ambulance to hospital to have his injuries attended to. He had sustained a fracture to his left elbow and several soft tissue injuries. Nick received appropriate treatment for these injuries. Over the next several weeks, more soft tissue injuries manifested themselves on his neck, back and rib area.

Nick was fortunate to be able to return to work as a maintenance team leader a merely days after the incident occurred, although his injuries prevented him from indulging in his hobbies such as kayaking, cycling and Ju Jitsu. His work was limited, however; he had to keep flexible hours, and could only perform very light tasks for several months.

Nick consulted with his Unite union representative-Rob Miguel- and  made a claim for head-on collision injury compensation against the driver who had lost control of his vehicle and caused the crash. The other driver’s insurer admitted negligence, and accepted fault for the accident. Following negotiations, a suitable amount of compensation was agreed upon outside of court.

Nick later said; “The other driver had lost control and hit two other cars before we collided head-on, it all happened so fast. I‘m just very grateful my daughter wasn’t in the vehicle with me”.

The Unite union representative further stated: “Our member sustained a series of injuries because a driver wasn’t concentrating. The level of injuries could have been far worse, but nevertheless the accident was still a serious one and went on to affect our member’s life for months after the crash”.